The second day of that tournament was much slower. I caught only one keeper all day - but it weighed 9-5! All those fish hit around bridge riprap in the warming March water. Although March is a winter away, the cooling water will soon be about the same temperature as it was then, in the low 60's. Bass will be on a similar pattern and you can bet I will be slinging a spinnerbait when I am fishing.
Tournaments are won year round on spinnerbaits. They are great in the spring and fall when the bass are feeding heavily. They work in the winter when the water is cold because you can fish them slowly and make them look like an easy meal to a sluggish bass. In the hot summertime you can buzz them to entice a bass that is in high speed from the warm water.
I carry dozens of spinnerbaits and have spare blades and skirts in my tacklebox. Yet I almost always fish the same lure, a 3/8th ounce Strike King spinnerbait with a #5 willowleaf and a #3 Colorado blade. One will be gold and the other silver, usually with the willowleaf in gold. I use a chartreuse and white skirt and a 3" white curly tail trailer. That combo works for me in almost all situations.
When the water is warm, I like to run the bait just under the surface, sometimes speeding up to make it bulge the surface and then pausing to make the skirt flare. In clear water I will speed it up and in stained water I slow it down. This method is good for active, feeding bass. If they are not interested and the water is warm, I speed it up and try for reaction strikes, buzzing the bait so the blade breaks the surface like a fleeing shad. It works almost like a buzzbait.
I fish the bait slower and slower until the water drops below 60 degrees. By that time I am "slow rolling" or bumping the bottom with it. I want the bait crawling along like a stunned baitfish on its last legs, swimming slowly along the bottom, bumping anything in its way. You can cover a lot of water and still get strikes from the slowed down bass.
This is when I go to a heavier bait. A half ounce bait will make it easier to keep moving down deep. The colder the water gets, the deeper I fish and the heavier the bait I use. A one ounce bait is not too big if you are trying to fish 15 or 20 feet deep.
At times the bass seem to want a bigger blade, usually when they are feeding on bigger shad. The big #7 blades were very popular several years ago and they will still catch fish. You need a heavier lure to carry these big blades, though. They are hard to fish on a bait weighing less than a half ounce.
Try changing blade sizes and colors if the fish won't bite. You can attach them with a clip and swivel and change quickly. Use different colors of skirts and trailers also. Check out Secret Weapon Spinnerbaits. They have blades that are easy to change and you can quickly adapt to changing conditions. Sometimes the bass may want something out of the ordinary. Let them tell you what to use.
You can fish spinnerbaits on heavy line and a stout outfit without spooking the fish. I like a bait casting reel loaded with 17 pound line on a 5 1/2 foot rod with a light tip but fast taper so it has lots of backbone.
Something else good about spinnerbaits is the fact you seldom loose a fish on one. The big hook seems to hold them better than many other lures. Tie one on and give it a try. Let me know how you do, or tell me your favorite spinnerbait methods and stories. Send me a "Fishtale" about it at firstname.lastname@example.org. and I may use it in that section where readers stories are displayed.